Dealing with Deployment: New Study Shows Behavioral Problems for Kids

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

More than 3,200 soldiers from Colorado are currently serving overseas, leaving their spouses and kids at home.

A new study shows those kids may have more behavioral problems than their peers.

11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler spoke to a VA counselor and a local military mom about deployment stress.

Suzanne Bronson is married, but right now she's raising two kids alone.

"I'm half of a partnership raising two boys by myself. It's about as hard as you can possibly imagine," she told 11 News on Friday.

Her husband is serving an 18-month deployment in Iraq with the National Guard.

And while she is dealing with a lot of emotions and worrying about her husband, she worries about her boys.

"It's difficult for them because they do miss their dad tremendously and they want him home now."

Bronson says her 12-year-old and 10-year-old have not acted out but she has noticed a drop in grades.

"Tthey can't run to daddy and say look what I did."

For thousands fighting overseas, there may be trouble at home.

A new study by the Boston University School of Medicine found young children with parents away at war were more likely to be aggressive and hyperactive.

Tom Ziemann is a counselor at the Grand Junction VA hospital and an Air Force Veteran. He says although researchers only tested 200 kids at one military base, it highlights problems parents need to think about.

"Anytime a parent is gone from the household that's a big stressor. Some kids are resilient they're not gonna miss a beat, others will show different symptoms."

Ziemann says the symptoms can be anything from loss of sleep, to loss of appetite or problems getting along with peers.

He says the two best solutions are keeping a normal routine and talking to kids about their feelings.

"The main thing is to talk about it. Kids are missing their mom or dad and parents should encourage their kids to talk about it."

And that's exactly what Suzanne Bronson is trying to do along with doing as much as she can long distance--writing letters and emails and sending care packages.

But she says being alone is still not easy, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"He's not coming home for the holidays."

But when dad finally does come home...

"He's barely gonna get off the plane and they're gonna go sailing towards him with a big hug," said Bronson.

She says it will be like Christmas all over again.

Bronson is a Blue Star Mother and the group is collecting items for holiday care packages.

If you'd like to donate or would like more information on counseling just click on the link below.

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